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Lessons learned, lessons lost
Author: Thomas R. Seitz

This book explores the processes through which nation-building policy approaches originated and developed over the last seven decades as well as the concepts and motivations that shaped them. In the process, the book explores the question of how the US became involved in nation building overseas in the first place, and explores the persistent questions about the relationship between order, security and development in nation-building projects. At the same time, the book points out lessons that should have been retained from America's Cold War nation-building efforts in developing areas. At the cost of a great deal of treasure and no small amount of blood, the United States implemented nation building and other internal security programs in dozens of developing countries at the height of the Cold War. A generation after these policies peaked in scope and intensity, the US embarked on similar projects in a range of countries, the most ambitious in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, recent studies of America's experience with nation-building neglect these Cold War experiences in the developing world, ignoring costly lessons from efforts by which the US attempted to build functioning, cohesive state institutions in less developed contexts, including new states emerging from the decolonization process.

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Thomas R. Seitz

Introduces the subject and sets forth the argument regarding nation building in American foreign policy, describes the overall approach and explains the rationale for the case studies used. Provides a brief overview of how and why foreign aid programs and specifically nation building became a key instrument of US security policy. The chapter also introduces the book's critique of Realism and the Critical Security Studies School with respect to containment, security and development.

in The evolving role of nation-building in US foreign policy
Thomas R. Seitz

Explores the political culture argument and illustrates it through a description of how political culture shaped threat perceptions and such national security analyses and statements as the Project Solarium position papers NSC-68 in the formative years of the Cold War. The chapter also explores the process by which the US came to view the entire world as its ‘national security zone’, in which virtually every event was of importance to US national security.

in The evolving role of nation-building in US foreign policy
Eisenhower and the Overseas Internal Security Program
Thomas R. Seitz

Explores how security and stability within less developed countries became a central element of US security and ‘counter-subversion’ policy during the first Eisenhower administration. The chapter also examines how US policy in decolonizing countries had to go beyond internal security to development and nation building. The events described herein represent Washington's first in-depth exploration into events and processes defining the decolonizing world, and how it formulated and modified its response, the NSC 1290-d or Overseas Internal Security Program.

in The evolving role of nation-building in US foreign policy
Thomas R. Seitz

The chapter explores how political culture thwarted Eisenhower's desire to incorporate more development aid into security assistance, even in the face of a perceived economic offensive by Khrushchev's Soviet Union targeting decolonizing countries. The chapter examines the decision making process through which the administration managed to persuade Congress as to the need for development assistance to decolonizing areas. Also examined are inputs to this process from C. Douglas Dillon, William Draper, and modernization theorists in academia.

in The evolving role of nation-building in US foreign policy
Theory and practice
Thomas R. Seitz

This chapter contrasts the Kennedy administration's approach with that of Eisenhower, examining how political culture shaped its ‘modernization’ theoretical framework and its application in developing areas in the form of the United States Overseas Internal Defence Policy, or USOIDP. The chapter also explores the implementation of the Kennedy-Johnson era approach and contrasts cases of two recipient countries. One is Indonesia, where the US had limited access to government. The other is South Vietnam, where access was almost unlimited. The USOIDP represented a broad and ambitious effort to integrate nation building and economic aid programs of the so-called ‘other war’ with military measures such as the expanded use of special operations forces, counter-insurgency and Citizens' Irregular Defense Groups or CIDG.

in The evolving role of nation-building in US foreign policy
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Towards a ‘tolerable state of order’?
Thomas R. Seitz

This concluding chapter, teases out the lessons learned and lessons lost from these Cold War programs, and relates these to current policies in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Described are Nixon's philosophy and rationale for turning away from nation building, his Nixon Doctrine, and his subsequent emphasis on bolstering authoritarian gendarmes as a means of withdrawing the US from nation building and development programs abroad. The chapter goes on to critique the US policies under study, and attempts to identify lessons that seem to have been learned or lost based on America's conduct of its ambitious wars in Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001.

in The evolving role of nation-building in US foreign policy